Me and my health: Presenter Stuart Robinson on his lifestyle
The 36-year-old radio presenter from Belfast who hosts a Saturday show for Cool FM and a Sunday programme for Downtown has just begun a new weight-loss challenge. He revealed live on his Saturday show that he weighs 19 stones and wants to get fit by the summer. Stuart has two children Holly (12) and Glenn (8) from a previous relationship.
Q: Do you take regular exercise - and if so, what?
A: Since Saturday's show, I have received so much support from young people saying they are facing the same issue, especially in this age of social media. I have an app on my phone which counts how many steps you take in a day and I'm aiming to do 7,000 a day.
For the past week I have been walking at lunchtime around the duck pond outside Downtown Radio for up to 45 minutes. When I go home I run on my treadmill - which hasn't been used in quite a while - for up to 45 minutes. I'm at the point where I need to work at that level of intensity to achieve the standard of health I want. The app also has the technology to backdate activity - one day over Christmas I did less than 300 steps, and that was probably back and forth to the kitchen.
Q: What's been the worst illness you have had?
A: Despite being overweight since slimming down from 22 stones to 14 and a half stones six years ago, I haven't really suffered from bad health - apart from the obesity and associated health problems. Before I lost weight the previous time I had gone to see my doctor as I felt unwell - he told me that my blood pressure was through the roof. That was when I knew that I had to do something about it. Nicola Bleakley (sister of Christine) helped me at that time, teaching me about portion control and the importance of making whatever exercise I did count. My goal is to get down to 15 stones again.
Q: How healthy is your diet?
A: Before Christmas there wasn't anything healthy about my diet. When I went to McDonald's I had two burgers, rather than one. My diet was nothing short of a disaster. At the all-night buffet in the Chinese restaurant I would be up two to three times. I lived on takeaways and food from drive-throughs and the amount of exercise I took was down to nothing. Now, though, I eat cereal for breakfast and fruit for lunch before having a well-balanced meal for dinner. We have a canteen at Downtown which has all manner of tempting food, but I think the best option for me right now is to stay out of it.
Q: Any bad habits?
A: The worst is after having a few drinks on a night out in Belfast with friends on - that is the time when I will get a takeaway or a pizza. I struggle with this one and I will end up ordering a pizza at 3am when I get in. Things are bad when you start a friendship with the manager at Pizza Hut. When it was announced that a fish and chips shop had closed recently, a friend called me and said they must have heard I was going on a diet.
Q: Do you drink/smoke - if so, how much?
A: I have never smoked, which I am really grateful for, as it is so addictive and I sympathise with those trying to give up, as it is so hard. I do drink occasionally, but only at the weekend - I'm sure I did drink during the week when I was younger but I just cannot do it any more.
Q: Do you take any health supplements?
A: Since I went live with my weight loss plan, lots of listeners have contacted me, recommending various supplements. For now, though, I am sticking to the plan of dieting and exercise.
Q: How do you take time out?
A: I really enjoy going on holiday and usually travel to Florida twice a year. For me it is time away from the studio where I can relax and get away from everything. Obviously, though, there is the issue of food, particularly in America, where there are so many food chains which we don't have here. I work hard all year, so I want to enjoy myself. One of my favourite places to eat in the US is The Cheesecake Factory, but when I come home from holiday I definitely don't feel healthy. It is about getting the balance right - relaxing on holiday while acknowledging that there will be temptations.
Q: How well do you sleep?
A: Being overweight, I don't sleep well. Physically I find the bed smaller, so it is hard to get comfortable and I tend to toss and turn at night as well as run to the toilet a lot more. The mattress is not supportive as there are an extra four to five stones of weight on it. Having a disturbed sleep and being overweight are connected and I would sleep up to seven hours a night. When I lose weight I hope to get up to eight hours of undisturbed sleep every night.
Q: Do you worry about getting old?
A: Getting old does not worry me; what does is being too old to lose enough weight to be healthy. I don't want to grow older and still be unhealthy, because when I get to 50 it may not be as easy to get into shape again. Those lifestyle changes may not be as easy to make - that frightens me.
Q: What is your go-to product/habit that keeps you feeling healthy?
A: It is the support and encouragement of other people. When others are watching and listening to you as you try to lose weight, there is far more accountability, because the only thing that was stopping me was the fact I couldn't be bothered to do it. I will be doing live Facebook posts, which is a new development, so listeners and Facebook users can interact with me as part of my weight loss journey. To get feedback from people is great for motivation and building your confidence as you try to reach your goals.
- Stuart presents the Saturday morning show from 10am on Cool FM, with an evening show on Downtown Radio